Pantry Lookbook: Holiday spice


Even if you are not a Top Chef, chances are, the holidays will find you dabbling in the kitchen…or grazing there while someone else does all the work.  No judgment!

Most people remember to get the key ingredients for recipes, chicken, flour, CHEESE.  But, every once in a while, the cook forgets to pick up that one small item that makes or breaks a dish.  In my experience, it’s usually a spice or an herb.  (How many times have you grubbed on something delicious a friend has prepared and asked “what is in this?!” only to find that the answer to your taste revelation is some spice or zest that adds the perfect flourish.)  Am I right?

If you’re like me, you buy spices on an as-needed basis.  Unfortunately, that means that you’re probably setting yourself or your loved ones up for constant trips to the supermarket.  During the holidays, the last thing you want to do is brave another store with frazzled shoppers.

The great thing about spices, is that they keep for like EVER.  So in preparation for the busiest cooking and baking season, do yourself a favor and stock up on these workhorses of the kitchen.  You can use them even after the decorations have come down and the confetti has been swept away.  Stay spicy, y’all!

Pumpkin pie

Spices (and the holiday dishes in which they are usually featured)

Nutmeg—pumpkin scones, crisps, ham

Cinnamon—apple pie, applesauce, sweet kugel

Anise—cranberry sauce, pfeffernusse, pan de muertos

Pumpkin pie spice—most pumpkin baked goods

Ginger—cookies, cocktails and punches

Vanilla Beans and or Extract—most desserts, rugelach


Tarragon—salad dressings and marinades

Thyme—stuffing, turkey

Sage—gravy, usually pork or sausage dishes

Rosemary— vegetables, stuffing, lamb, turkey, chicken

Cloves—Mulled wine, cranberry sauce, apple sauce, ham

Christmas ham


Spice image courtesy of Michael Caven via Flickr

Rugelach image courtesy of soundless_space via Flickr

Christmas ham image courtesy of pickyin via Flickr

Wendy Cortez

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